VHF’s Evening Lectures series offers illustrated lectures that look at the history of Vancouver, covering the events, movements and people that have shaped our city. Since the first event in 2012, the series has included a diverse range of subjects and perspectives in over 50 lectures from more than 30 presenters. A listing of many of them can be found below.

VHF’s Evening Lecture series continues in virtual format this fall. Join us from the comfort of home to enjoy fascinating pieces of Vancouver’s history with a selection of speakers.

You can earn 1 Old School credit per Evening Lecture or Lunch and Learn, to a maximum of 3 towards VHF’s Heritage Conservation Certificate. 

BC’s Black Pioneers: Economic, Political and Social Influences

Tuesday, September 28th, 7pm - 8:30pm
$16/$10 (incl. tax)

The original Black settlers in BC represented a wide spectrum of backgrounds, skills, and interests, each contributing substantially to the settlement and development of the Colony of Vancouver Island and the province. Fran Morrison, Director with the BCBHAS, will delve into the history of BC’s Black pioneers from 1858 to 1870, from their migration to the province to their experiences settling on Vancouver Island. She will share stories of the opportunities, struggles and achievements of these pioneering men and women, like Peter and Nancy Lester and Mifflin Gibbs, as well as highlight how they are being remembered today.

About the Speaker

Fran originates from Nova Scotia.  Her maternal ancestors are Black Loyalists; arriving in Nova Scotia after the American War of Independence in 1783. These Black Loyalists are documented in the Carleton Papers, more commonly known as “The Book of Negroes”.   Her paternal ancestors arrived in Nova Scotia from Maryland via the Underground Railroad. Fran moved to B.C. with her family in 1992.

Fran is a Director and Board Secretary with the BC Black History Awareness Society (BCBHAS) since 2010.  Specifically as a Director, her role includes managing and overseeing content research and development for the Society’s website, developing and delivering presentations about BC’s Black History for a wide range of learners/audiences and working with public and community-based organizations.  

Image compiled by Beth Cruise, BC Black History Awareness Society.  Images courtesy of City of Victoria Archives, Royal BC Museum and Archives and Salt Spring Island Archives.

Person riding a bike in Mount Pleasant industrial area.

Lower Mount Pleasant: Immigrants, Industry and Institutions

Tuesday, October 26th, 7pm - 8:30pm

Lower Mount Pleasant, the light industrial, commercial, & residential area (north of Broadway, bounded by Cambie Street and Clark Drive), is often omitted when Mount Pleasant's heritage is discussed. Join us to learn about some of the families, workers, industries, legacy businesses, and social groups that once called this unique part of Mount Pleasant home. Supplemented by photographs, clippings, and historical plans, historical researcher and writer Christine Hagemoen will illustrate forgotten stories of the area and share some of the fascinating pockets of history that still persevere.

One of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, Mount Pleasant was also the city’s first suburb. In the 1880s, industries such as brewing, slaughterhouses, and lumber mills started appearing along the south shores of False Creek and beside creeks that flowed through the area.

With the development of False Creek South and Flats, new density zoning, and construction of the Broadway subway, there is a lot of redevelopment pressure in the area. These rapid changes have the potential to impact not only the built heritage of the area but also its rich social and cultural history.

About the Speaker

Christine Hagemoen, a 4th generation Vancouverite, is a Mount Pleasant based historical researcher, writer, and photographer. She is the You Should Know columnist at Scout Magazine and has written for Photo Life magazine. Christine is currently working on a historical walking tour project, partially funded by the Yosef Wosk Publication Grant, to be published fall 2021.

All Aboard! A virtual tour of Vancouver’s neon past and present

Tuesday, November 30th, 7pm - 8:30pm

Climb aboard and join Angus McIntyre and John Atkin for an evening of neon and vintage buses! "City Lights: Neon in Vancouver," the Museum of Vancouver’s landmark exhibition on the history of neon opened in 1999, displaying some of the 19,000 neon signs that once illuminated Vancouver’s commercial streets. Using a vintage bus from the Transit Museum Society, Angus and John created a bus tour to explore the city’s neon legacy. With an obligatory stop at the legendary Wally’s Burgers on Kingsway, the tour wound its way across Vancouver and Burnaby, showing off the city’s nighttime ambience. John and Angus will take a drive down memory lane to reminisce about the tours, neon history, old buses and reflect on how Vancouver’s neon legacy has evolved.

About the Speakers

John Atkin is a civic historian, author and heritage consultant. He offers an interesting and offbeat insight into the city’s architecture, history and neighbourhoods through a series of unique and popular walking tours. These combine his interests in urban planning and development, a love of architecture and a fascination for the curious.

Angus McIntyre has lived in Vancouver since 1965, and combined a 41 year career as a city bus driver with a strong interest in photography. His documentation of urban transit, historic buildings and the changing city have appeared in a gallery exhibit and several publications over the years, most recently in Eve Lazarus’ Vancouver Exposed. He retired ten years ago, and still operates vintage buses with the Transit Museum Society.

Online Lectures from the VHF Archives

Visit our YouTube page for more heritage and history themed videos including previously recorded Evening Lectures – A Century of Planning from Bartholomew to City Plan with Michael Kluckner and Japanese Hall 1928-2018: The Extraordinary Story of Community Resilience, Survival and Transformation with Laura Saimoto. Be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell to be notified when we upload a new video.


Past Lectures

  • March 2 – Vancouver’s Stained-Glass Heritage: Artists & Studios, 1889-1940 – Jim Wolf
  • April 6 – Race, Regulation and Resistance: Understanding Vancouver’s South Asian community history – Milan Singh, Naveen Girn, Paneet Singh
  • May 4 – Building BC: The Photography of Leonard Frank and Otto Landauer – Michael Schwartz
  • March 3 – A Century of Planning Vancouver: From Bartholomew to City Plan – Michael Kluckner
  • October 27 – Chinatown Through a Wide Lens: The Hidden Photographs of Yucho Chow – Catherine Clement
  • November 17 – Vancouver After Dark: Stories of the City’s Historical Nightspots – Aaron Chapman
  • December 1 – The Changing Landscape of Vancouver’s Private Gardens, 1890-2020 – Adrienne Brown
  • February 26 – Vancouver’s Hidden Heritage Building: The Resurrection of the Heather Pavilion – Donald Luxton
  • April 9 – Japanese Hall 1928-2018: The Extraordinary Story of Community Resilience, Survival and Transformation – Laura Saimoto
  • April 30 – The Francophone Pioneers of Vancouver: A Little-known History and Legacy – Maurice Guibord
  • October 1 – “Just what is it that makes the modern house so different, so appealing?” – Greg Bellerby
  • October 29 – The History and Legacy of the Vancouver Park Board – John Coupar & Terri Clark
  • November 26 – “Land of Destiny”: A History of Vancouver Real Estate – Jesse Donaldson
  • February 27 – Stanley Park: Digging Deeper and Rethinking Cultural Heritage – Rena Soutar (Cha’an Dtut) & Geordie Howe
  • March 20 – Squat City: An Informal History of Squatters in Vancouver – Daniel Francis
  • April 24 – Themes, Subthemes and Memes: Telling History in a Different Way – Donald Luxton
  • September 18 – Private Property, Public Regulation, and the History of the Arbutus Corridor – Douglas Harris
  • October 9 – Vancouver’s Police Museum: Stories from 240 E Cordova – Rosslyn Shipp & Elizabeth Peterson
  • October 30 – Granville Street: 1886 to Today – Commerce, Entertainment and Historic Buildings – Aaron Chapman & Michael Gordon
  • February 21 – Stanley Park Sites and Stories: Then and Now – Adrienne Brown
  • March 28 – Rum-runners and Border Wars: Prohibition in BC – Daniel Francis
  • April 25 – Ten Myths About Vancouver: The Real Stories – John Atkin
  • September 19 – Shaughnessy’s Backstory – Michael Kluckner
  • October 24 – What a Mess: False Creek, the Industrial Waterway – John Atkin
  • November 7 – Kitsilano Indian Reserve: Contact to Today – Douglas Harris
  • February 16 – Selling Vancouver to Tourists: 1890 – 1960 – Michael Kluckner
  • April 5 – How Streetcars and Real Estate Shaped Vancouver – John Atkin
  • May 29 – The Crescent: From the CPR and the Garden City to Today – Adrienne Brown
  • October 18 – Sawmills and Opera Houses: The Origins of Chinatown – John Atkin
  • November 1 – The Legacy Sites and Stories of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games – Jason Beck
  • November 29 – Who was Major Matthews? – Heather Gordon
  • February 17 – How it all began: The Bloedel Conservatory – John Coupar
  • March 17 – Art Deco Architecture in Vancouver – Maurice Guibord
  • April 21 – The Wild History of Gastown – Donald Luxton
  • June 2 – A History of Vancouver Apartments – Michael Kluckner
  • September 29 – Vancouverism 1954 – 1991 – Michael Gordon
  • October 27 – Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890 – 1918 – Charles Hill
  • November 10 – BC: Lumberyard of the World – John Atkin
  • January 21 – Vancouver as a Sustainable City – Dr. Tom Hutton
  • March 4 – Challenges & Trends: Public Engagement for Community Planning – Dr. Maged Senbel
  • April 15 – Arts & Crafts Movement of the Pacific Northwest – Larry Kreisman
  • September 30 – Gentrification, Heritage & the Future of Vancouver – Michael  Kluckner
  • October 21 – Samuel Maclure in Shaughnessy – Jim Wolf
  • November 4 – Vancouver’s Vaudeville: the Great White Way – John Atkin & Tom Carter
  • February 19 – How Chinatown became a National Historic Site – John Atkin & Jeanette Hlavach
  • March 19 – History of electric car – John Stonier
  • April 16 – Marriage of architecture and gardens – Christine Allen
  • September 17 – Big Bands in Vancouver – Dal Richards & John Mackie
  • October 15 – 1913’s 100 year building boom – John Atkin
  • November 5 – COV’s Archivist’s picks, new acquisitions & the challenges of archiving digitizing records – Heather Gordon
  • January 17 – History of Exterior Paint Schemes – Donald Luxton
  • February 21 – History of Neon Light in Vancouver – John Atkin
  • March 6 – History of Stained Glass – Jim Wolf
  • September 25 – Vancouver’s early transit system – Henry Ewert
  • October 2 – Architectural History of Vancouver – Donald Luxton
  • October 30 – Catalogue Homes in Vancouver – John Atkin